If you have any questions or suggestions, please email Me @ N1RFD

Radio Incident Command Kit (R.I.C.K.)
Click on the Images to Enlarge them.

What is my definition of a Communications Go-Kit?
A Communications Go-Kit (or Radio-Ready-Kit) is made up of a portable "Amateur radio" station and assorted personal gear that can quickly be assembled to respond to a "Call To Service". What the kit will consist of depends on the type of incidents being responded to and potential extent of the events. Being Prepared and Equipped to serve, enables rapid deployment! A responders Go-Kit should be tailored to their needs, (Radio type), expected assignments and expected length of assignment. Sometimes it is necessary to go equipped with more than QRP (low power) equipment to achieve reliable communications. It is good practice to use no more transmitter power than required, but it is also necessary to have enough power available to complete the communications. This has led me to build a Go-Kit which is capable of more transmitter power than a HT. The additional transmit power does not have to be utilized, but if needed, it is there. Also with the radio installed in my go kit, the ICOM ID-880H, with the appropriate MARS & CAP ICOM approved modifications, the Go Kit can be used to effectively communicate or provide communications for services between 136-174 MHz and 420-470 MHz Analog / Digital including Digital D-Star. Another feature this radio provides is the ability to transmit and receive encoded, digital data via a direct connection to a computer / laptop.


With this in mind, I designed and built my version of a R.I.C.K.


I am a member of Florida S.E.R.T. (State of Florida Emergency Response Team), C.E.R.T. (Community Emergency Response Team) and the Emergency Communications Director for N.B.A.R.C. (The North Brevard Amateur Radio Club), located in Central Florida. I built two more Go-Kits to enable club members to be better equipped to serve the community.

The case I selected is a Orange, Pelican 1520. The case is water proof, air tight and has a provision for a padlock / security cable. The Exterior dimension 19.78" X 15.77" X 7.41" and the Interior dimensions are 18.06" X 12.89" X 6.72". The case was purchased at http://www.nalpak.com/pelican-1520 without foam for $86.61 plus shipping.



Inside of the case on the top panel is a West Marine 12 volt 3-circuit panel with voltage meter, a RIGrunner 4004 USB power distribution panel, an ICOM 880H D-Star radio and a cooling fan/AC plug / power switch. The cooling fan/AC plug / power switch came from a computer power supply. I cut the end off the power supply. A female 12 volt socket is used to plug in an external battery. The USB ports are used for external accessories a light, a fan and Cell Phone charging. The light provides a light for doing logs when you are without AC and the fan helps circulate the air around you.

The Inspiration for this kit came from a similar project documented by Rick (KH70). He and I exchanged many emails discussing the project. What I ended up designing and building was a simplified version of Rick's kit and then I took it to the next level. This, in my opinion IS what "Amateur Radio" is all about.




This is the Wiring and schematic underneath the top panel.

The schematic is installed for field maintenance.







The lower compartment houses a RIGrunner 4005 for 12 volt power distribution via Power Pole connectors, a Pyramid 20 amp Power Supply and a Duracomm 20A Battery charger / power source switcher for automatic switching from AC to DC when AC is unavailable.

A rail kit (Black) is installed around the inside of the case for the top panel to mount into.

The rail kit is optional but necessary and can be purchased at: http://www.pelican-case.com/pelican-1520pf.html

The bottom panel is secured into the bottom of the case with Industrial Velcro.




The Duracomm 20A backup power switching charger provides 110VAC or 12VDC to the RIGrunner 4004 on the top panel. If AC is available the Duracomm charges the 12 volt battery.

This is the link to where I purchased the Duracomm BU/Charger: http://www.tessco.com/products/displayProductInfo.do?sku=495032&eventPage=1





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These are the components that were used to construct the Go-Kit.

The white Board standing inside of the Pelican 1520 case is a second generation modification.

It is a plastic, kitchen cutting board that can be purchased from Walmart. It makes the kit look more professional but the plastic is a lot harder to work with when cutting it out than the plywood is. The plastic gets hot while you are sawing it and keeps bonding back together.




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The First generation R.I.C.K. Go-Kit on the right is using oak plywood for the top panel.

The Second generation Go-Kit on the left is using the plastic cutting board for the top panel.

It takes longer to cut the plastic because it keeps bonding back together as it is cut.




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This is the third generation of R.I.C.K. (Radio Incident Command Kit).

This Generation has been updated to include a MJF-4416B Super Battery Booster. This Super Battery Booster keeps the transceiver operating at full performance by eliminating low or marginal voltages to the transceiver.

This picture shows the remote control for the Super Battery Booster, lower center of the top panel in the picture.

The remote is used to activate the low voltage alarm and select when to activate the voltage boost to the transceiver.

I found that when the battery started to run down after a few hours, the voltage to the radio was at 11 or less volts.

When the voltage dropped to 10 volts the radio lost it's programming. With the Super Battery Booster you can set the operational parameters. The S.B.B. will take as low 9 volts in and still produce 12.8 volts to the radio.

The Super Battery Booster is a MUST HAVE!


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This is the MFJ 4416 BRC remote control.

The MFJ-4416BRC lets you turn the booster and low battery alert on/off. In addition there are "Boosting" and "Low Battery" LED lights along with analog voltage gauges. Depending on how the MFJ-4416BRC is set-up, it can remain idle until the RF sampling port detects RF, then it will self activate.





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The MFJ 4416B is mounted in the lower compartment. It is in the lower center of the picture. The green Cat-5 Ethernet cable coming out of the front side of the booster is the control wire that interconnects the remote control on the top panel.

The orange cable with PL259's delivers a RF signal to the booster to activate the booster when you push the PTT.





The innovations on the FOURTH GENERATION of my Go-Kit are:

Self Contained Lithium Polymer Battery supply. (40 AH)

Solar Panel recharging, in addition to AC and DC recharging. (Folding Solar Pannel)

Built in 450 watt AC inverter.

Velcro Radio mount to quickly change transceivers.
This fourth generation Go-Kit is still in the same Pelican 1520 case with all the features of all of the previous versions and weighs UNDER 30 pounds.

Future Innovations are born from Conversations!                                                      

Michael Fontana N1RFD  WQQJ550


The MFJ-4416B Super Battery Booster Keeps your transceiver operating at full efficiency and performance by eliminating low or marginal voltages in the go-kit environment. Today's compact 50 watt transceivers are designed to operate from about 12-16 volts, "without" signal distortion, output power problems, or transceiver reset when the voltage drops below 12 volts (low voltage can cause a loss of the transceivers memory contents).
MFJ link: http://www.mfjenterprises.com/Product.php?productid=MFJ-4416B
HRO has free shipping, no sales tax, cost is $149.95

HRO LINK: http://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=H0-008745 

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P-1 Portable Tripod with a NMO antenna mount.

This is a great Field Day or ARES setup.

It will allow you to utilize any of your existing antennas.

It has 24 inch- 3 position legs for very stable setup

It has 1/4 inch male spade connection for counterpoise. (left leg near the NMO antenna mount)

All Aluminum Construction with Delrin Leg clamps.

Closed length is 12 inches. It is very compact and easy to store with your Go-Kit.

It can be purchased at Blue Star Antenna LTD in Palatka FL.
http://bluestarantennas.com The cost is $49.95 plus shipping.

Click on the Images to Enlarge them.


The antenna I choose is a Diamond SG-7900A with UHF connector that mounts to the SO-239 adapter.

The SG-7900A is 2m/70cm with a  5/7.6 gain, antenna height is 62".

This is a great dual band antenna that can be used outside or inside set-up on a table in front of a window.

I checked the SWR on the tripod, at 50 watts and it was less than 1.5-1.






Rick KH7O designed and built a go-kit using a Pelican 1450 case with a rail kit.

Rick lives on the island of Oahu in Hawaii and is a Red Cross disaster responder for emergency communications. He maintains APRS wide area digipeaters that connect Oahu and Kauai Civil Defense agencies. Rick is a former communication officer for the Department of Emergency Management (DEM). 

Rick's group the UFN consists of a dozen or so members from the 70's who are all have a technical background from broadcast engineers to Two way radio companies of General Electric Company, LMR and Motorola. Members are now spread out in California, Las Vegas and other parts of the world where they maintain communications by Echolink.

You can email Rick @ KH7O should you have any questions about his kit.




This is a Harbor Freight case used for a Go-Kit, picture Courtesy KE7HLR.



If you have any questions you can email Me @ N1RFD

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